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South Carolina’s Dawn Staley shares thoughts on coaching

November 30, 2015 / BasketballCoaching
Coaching starts with the relationships, and those who have control off the court or field are much more likely to find success on it.

South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley recently wrote about the challenges and opportunities of the profession.
South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley recently wrote about the challenges and opportunities of the profession.

You’ve probably heard that type of talk from coaches like John Wooden and Mike Krzyzewski, and South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley is the latest to offer her insight.

Staley has coached at South Carolina since 2008 and just last season led the program to its first No. 1 ranking and Final Four appearance. This season, her team is off to a 7-0 start.

In a recent post on The Players’ Tribune, she wrote about her experiences and challenges since first becoming a coach at Temple in 2000. Her secret: it’s about the connections coaches make with their players.

Here is an excerpt:

I need to have a personal relationship with each player. I, just like they do, have to be invested. Something other than basketball has to draw me to them. Basketball is the immediate common ground between us, of course, but I’m talking about a personal level. I like to have something more.

At the collegiate level, there are many things the players need to learn, and they can’t learn everything at once. It’s too much for them to grasp. It starts with instilling the discipline to work hard and to find balance — to time manage. Everybody wants to be an Olympian, but not everyone is willing to put the work in every day. Everybody wants to graduate, but they don’t want to do their homework.

I have to make these players believe that my vision is good for them. It’s going to hurt, it’s going to be uncomfortable, but it’s good for you.

Staley discusses her experiences coaching athletes who have put up an emotional wall, and she also shares her difficulties in reaching athletes as the age gap between herself and her players widens. A number of coaches out there at the high school and collegiate levels can sympathize with her, which is why Staley’s column is an important read for all leaders of young athletes.

Click here to read Staley’s column in its entirety.


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